Tag Archive: flowers

Wallflower Ivory White – Erysimum cheiri English Wallflower

Although I have very many Wallflowers in my garden I couldn’t resist buying seeds of this one from Seekay. There are supposed to be 1000 seeds in the packet and I never pay more than a pound for anything from them so they were a good buy. It is a beautiful creamy white wallflower that will grow to about 18″ high and flower from April to June. Wallflowers are biennial and so grow in the first year and flower in the next year so I will have to be patient.

What spring garden would be complete without a bed of delightful, sweet-scented Wallflowers, harbingers of warmer weather to come. Very easy to grow and very rewarding; indeed they respond beautifully to the sow and forget technique. Bare patches sown with the absolute minimum of fuss in mid-August started flowering the following April and continued to supply the household with an abundance of cut flowers for many weeks thereafter. Although technically a short-lived perennial, these perform much better as a hardy biennial. So say the people from Chiltern Seeds and who am I to argue.

Sow the seeds thinly from April into open ground that has been well dug. Once large enough to handle thin out. The thinnings can be replanted or potted up for later use.  Keep the soil moist prior to germination. I have just sprinkled a few seeds into the white border. Can’t wait.

Iberis umbellata Dwarf Fairy mix – Candytuft

Iberis Dwarf Fairy Mix is an easy to grow variety that grows to a height of about 10″ and has large fragrant flower heads suitable for cut flowers. Flowers appear from March to September. Sow seeds indoors from mid March. Cover the seeds lightly. Germination will take between 14 – 30 days. Plant young seedlings out when the weather warms up a bit. Candytuft will not require very much care. I have had these pretty flowers before but have always bought them as young plants. This is the first attempt at growing from seed.

Today 26th August I am collecting seeds from these rewarding flowers. They have been a joy to watch and have surprised me with their show of lovely pink, violet and white blooms. I tried sowing as directed in pots and had no success so I sowed directly into the borders and like magic, in about three weeks, they popped up everywhere. I know that lots of seeds have already fallen into the soil and may survive the winter but I am covering my back and collecting some to sprinkle around next spring. Altogether a positive experience. I bought the original seeds from Seekay at 99p for 750, but don’t think I will ever need to buy more. A very rewarding plant.

The candytuft plant, Iberis sempervirens, hails from Europe. This stunning performer is a flowering evergreen perennial with a few rules for appropriate care and performance. Plant in well draining alkaline soil in a sunny location. Growing candytuft is worth the effort as the delicate flowers appear in early Spring through Summer and often again in Autumn. Once blooms are spent cut the entire plant back to ground level. This should be done at least every other year to prevent this beauty from becoming tall and spindly.

Night Scented Stock – Matthiola longipetala

I love these wild looking flowers and they bring back good memories for me because my Mom always used to sprinkle a packet of Night Scented Stock along the strip of garden under my bedroom window in the prefab when I was growing up. The prefabs had really large windows with two side opening ones and of course being a prefab the window was very close to the ground. No upstairs for us. When they were in flower the scent rising up when you opened the window was amazing and I can still recall it now. I can’t wait to go into the garden on a warm summer night and breathe in that perfume and remember, 30th March, a little early, I know, but I have sprinkled a bit of this seed here and there in sheltered spots around the garden.

Sow directly where they are to flower. Position plants around seating areas and along paths in the garden so their scent can be enjoyed in the evenings.  A sunny situation should be chosen making sure that drainage is good. Wait until the weather warms a little before sowing. Sow thinly, Water the soil regularly, especially in dry periods. Light spring frosts will not harm the plants.

Honesty – Lunaria annua alba – Hardy Biennual

Today, 22nd March, I have sown seeds of this beautiful plant in damp compost and expect them to germinate in 21 days. It is described by Seekay, where the seeds came from, as a quick growing variety that will produce a profusion of fragrant white flowers that appear from May to June of the following year. Once the flowers go over the seed heads that are produced can be used in dried flower arrangements. The plants will reach an eventual height of approx 3′. Advice is to sow the seeds from April on the surface of a good quality damp seed compost. Cover with a light sprinkle of compost then enclose in a polythene bag to retain moisture. With a little heat the seeds should germinate in up to 3 weeks. Transplant into 3″ pots when they are large enough to handle Gradually acclimatise to outside conditions Finally plant into final positions late May onwards appx 12″ apart.

Although you can start your seeds off in pots you can direct sow from mid May until June and I plan to do this for flowers next year. I have started a couple of batches indoors already as I was impatient and still hope for flowers this summer. Lunaria flowers in late May

Growing Wind Flowers – Anemone de Caen Corms – Coronaria 2017

Let the Anemone Mr Fokker be attendants to the Bride. Her simple pure-white beauty will shine even more when surrounded by their dramatic shades. Anemone Coronaria’s exquisite poppy-like flower emerges from a bridal wreath of golden stamens round a green centre. This alone sets her apart from her companions with their big black cup centres. All these showy varieties are among the extremely popular French cultivars that originated in the De Caen area of Normandy. Often called florists’ anemones, they make extremely good cut flowers, with Anemone Coronaria Bride, obviously, a wonderful choice for weddings in late spring or early summer.

So say the people at Farmer Gracy where I bought these knobbly corms. They look very strange now soaking overnight and waiting to be planted into a large patio pot. https://www.farmergracy.co.uk/products/anemone-mr-fokker-bulbs-uk

I already have a few Anemone Blanda planted here and there around the garden which have accumulated over the years but this time I intend to keep them a bit more protected. Previously they have just been popped in amongst other things but compared with the number planted they are very few and far between. I am hoping for a good show from these 40 corms. The new corms went into their pot this morning 15th March. The corms took about a month to show. This morning, 17th April, Is my Dad’s birthday so I will use that day as a marker in future to expect the Anemones to appear. Symbolically they are blue and white, the colours of, WBA, his favourite football team.

Update 16th April 2018 – Its nearly time for these Anemone to flower and I have bought a second variety of another lovely blue this year to put with them. They were from Wilko and only cost £2 for 25. They are soaking at the moment for planting tomorrow. They look really good corms for the price. The variety is Mr Ruffell Blue. They are almost the same as last years blue. A beautiful colour.

Calla Lily Rhizomes

The calla lily grows from bulbs, more properly called rhizomes, and will, as most bulbs do, spread by producing even more bulbs. These bulbs can be divided and replanted in another location. The calla lily is a very hardy genus that will grow in more or less any soil as long as the climate is humid enough. In many of the countries where the calla lily originates it is thought of as a weed and is cut down to make way for agriculture. The calla lily can also be propagated through its seeds but it takes a little more time than just digging up the extra bulbs. I am sure that I shall try. I can’t resist seeds.

I unpacked these rhizomes today and was amazed at how big they were. I had thought that they were expensive at £3.95 for each bulb but having seen them I am filled with confidence of their success. The more I read about these fascinating plants the more I want to know. I had debated about whether to plant each bulb in a separate pot but decided in the end to put all three in a large 40cm patio pot. The directions on the pack say plant in rich potting soil and water sparingly until growth starts. Keep indoors until April and keep frost free. The three varieties that I have  planted are Auckland, a beautiful pink, Schwarzwalder, a deep almost black maroon and Albomaculata, white. I can see me buying more of these as they come in an amazing array of colours and are said to have a long flowering period. As with all bulbs grown in containers the soil needs to be changed either every year or every other year.

When grown in pots for keeping indoors the compost should be kept moist and plants should be given a weak solution of liquid plant food every three weeks while they are in growth. The best place to site them is in a west-facing window, where the air temperature does not rise much above 21°C. A south-facing window may be too hot when the sun is at its strongest in summer. Remove the flowers when they start to fade. When the plant has finished blooming, allow the leaves to turn brown, and reduce watering. Stop watering completely once all the foliage has died back.

Francis Masson, was born in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1741. In the 1760s, he went to work at Kew Gardens as an under-gardener, and was sent abroad to hunt for new plants. He sailed with James Cook on HMS Resolution to South Africa, landing in October 1772. Masson stayed there for three years, during which time he sent back to England more than 500 species of plant – including  Zantedeschia .  Information from Graham Clarke.

The red lily beetle, Lilioceris lilii,  loves the delicious lily foliage and will quickly decimate your plants. The only real answer is to seek them out and kill them. being a vivid scarlet red, they are easily spotted.  You should also look out for the eggs on the undersides of the leaves and the grubs.

 

 

Calla Lily – Zantedeschia

I have bought three rhizomes of the Calla Lily. I am hoping to have them situated close to the pond. I know nothing about them except that for me they are expensive. I have read that they multiply annually so I hope I live long enough to see that. Initially, until the pond area is better prepared, I intend to grow these beautiful flowers in a pot. These bulbs don’t need to be dug up and stored over winter and I am glad about that. Overwintering of bulbs is one of the drawbacks of growing them I think,

The calla lily was originally found in tropical marshlands, which means it is a very thirsty plant that will not tolerate dry periods or neglect from the gardener. Either water the plant regularly during hot summer days or plant the calla lily where it can get lots of water without having to be in wet soil. If there is a small pond in your garden it will be perfect to plant calla lilies close to it  just remember that it needs to get to the water, since an artificial pond is not automatically in contact with the earth surrounding it. If this simple request of the calla lily is fulfilled, it will fill your garden. The calla lily is a hardy plant with very little needs but there are some nutritional considerations you might want to try. Just because calla lilies are sometimes considered weeds in their country of origin it does not mean that callas are hardy everywhere. However, if you give your calla lilies a little extra time and a weekly feed the result will show immediately with lots of beautiful flowers stretching up from the healthy plant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The calla lily or zantedeschia is a genus of twenty-eight different species all native to the southern parts of Africa with a tropical climate from South Africa up to Africa aligned with the northern point of Madagascar. The genus calla was originally named by the famous Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus but as it became apparent that the genus needed to be split up the German botanist Karl Koch named the new genus after his fellow botanist Giovanni Zantedeschi from Italy. It became a major hit in Europe and is still very popular as a wedding or funeral flower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update 22nd January 2018 – Having bought these from a top supplier and paid the highest price I was disappointed last year with the performance of these Lilies. Maybe my expectations were too high. This year I have bought three rhizomes from Wilko at £4. They are pink and purple mixed and I can’t wait to get them into the ground.

Asiatic Lily Double Sensation – Lilium

Asiatic Lily Double Sensation from Farmer Gracy  has fantastic colour and lovely ruffled petals. It is perfect grown in a container for use on the patio or plant the bulbs in the border where they’ll come up every year. Lilium Double Sensation is one of the most exclusive Asiatic Lilies available on the market. Asiatic Lily Double Sensation is known for its double flowers which create an amazing impact once in full bloom. Planting this delicate and rare Lily variety in pots makes a nice and compact show as the flower size of double flowered Lilies is much bigger than other regular Asiatic Lilies. Double flowering Lilies are very rare and it often takes many years to cultivate and offer them on the market. Lilies are perfect for combining with other perennials, grasses or shrubs. They like to have cool, nourished roots whilst their heads reach for the sun but choose shallow-rooting plants to prevent them sulking at the competition for both nutrients and moisture.

I received these three Lily bulbs as a free gift with a delivery of bulbs from Farmer Gracy in the Netherlands. After reading up about them I think that maybe they will need a large pot of their own as they will be bigger than I thought they would be. Update – April 2018 These bulbs are pushing through already. They didn’t flower last year but I am hopeful this year.

Probably the easiest to grow and hardiest of all the lilies, Asiatic Lilies are usually the first ones to bloom, flowering between June and August. Asiatic Lilies also have the widest range of colours but, unfortunately, most do not have a fragrance. Blooms vary in style, usually in terms of how they display their flowers. Some even hang their beautiful heads in a way reminiscent of pretty paper lanterns. Asiatic Lilies should be planted in full sun in soil that drains well. The bulbs don’t do well in soggy soil.

 

Freesia Mixed Colour Bulbs

I have planted twenty Freesia bulbs today in a large terracotta patio pot. I put them into Miracle Gro All Purpose compost. I have never grown these flowers before as I had always thought them to be difficult but this year I’m giving them a try. I have bought them in the past as cut flowers and love the perfume.

Cultivation has meant that Freesias are now available in more colours than the original wild South African yellow and white ones. These delicate, beautiful and fragrant flowers now come in shades of red, pink, orange, lavender and even bicolour. Excellent long-lasting cut flowers, Freesias give their blooms an uncommon display platform by bending the flowering tips of the 1′ stalks that each support about 8 funnel-shaped flowers, about 90 degrees and presenting the upward-facing blooms horizontally. Freesia bulbs like soil that has good drainage and prefer sunny places to grow. Freesias flower in late summer and autumn.

A bit of a challenge to grow but well worth the effort, these cottage garden favourites produce sprays of fragrant, funnel-shaped flowers at the ends of arching, branched stems in summer. A favourite with the florists as they are excellent cut flowers. They look superb planted in a mix border or in patio pots. So say Crocus.com. These bulbs were planted on 11th March and today 1st April, are pushing through the soil.

Begonia – London

I have planted six begonia tubers into two large pots of moist compost and shall keep them indoors until the last frost has passed. They are a collection of six red and white double Begonias from Farmer Gracy in the Netherlands called London. I have read that Begonias can be propagated with a leaf cutting so I am looking forward to trying that.

Nothing could be more striking than a fire and ice combination of showy red and white double Begonias. Wonderful on their own, these two colours are a match made in heaven when planted together. Give them a prominent position as a focal point in your garden or combine them in pots as a gorgeous feature. Information and image from Farmer Gracy.